2006 Archived News


Jay Trusty at DCP_small1Jay Trusty, 8, won The Golf Channel’s Regional Drive, Chip & Putt event in Bossier City, LA, May 21, qualifying him for the National event in Orlando, FL, this fall.
Jay won his Division as a 5-year-old in the 2003 Pepsi Little People’s, and was victorious as a 7-year-old in 2005.

Congratulations, Jay!!!




Russell & Claire_smallRussell Matos and Claire Hodges both came from three back to win their divisions in the BFI-Exxon Future Tour Championship at Greenville, MS.

Matos, 7, from Lombard, IL, finished 4 shots ahead of his nearest competitor, while Claire, 7, from Wildwood, MO, won by three shots in the 9 and under girls division.

Russell also won the putting contest for the second consecutive year, scored a record 19 for a single round and tied the two-day record with 42.


lucy clarkLucy Clark, 9, from Quincy, IL, recently attended the MAJGA Golf Camp held annually at Western University in Macomb, IL. In the Putting, Chipping and Long Drive contests, Lucy did well in all three events, getting one first place ribbon and two seconds.

Her first place came in the Long Drive Contest where she outdrove her nearest competition (a boy) by some 40 yards. Her long hit tied the mark set by a 10-year-old boy and was only 35 yards short of the longest drive of the day hit by a 16-year-old boy.
In Chipping, she was only 9 inches shy of the best chip of the day.

For the second year in a row, Lucy was selected as camper of the week for her group. Selection is based on demeanor, cooperation, participation and attitude.

Congratulations Lucy! We’re looking forward to seeing you in Pepsi Little People’s this year!



Although details are still being worked out with the host club, Pepsi Little People’s is pleased to announce that it will add two divisions in 2007 — a Boys 8-B for 18-19 year boys and a Girls 8-G for 18-19 year old girls.

All Divisions will follow the same format as in the past, with a practice round on Monday, June 18, and competition on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 19-20. The tournament will be preceded with the annual Pepsi Parent-Child event on Sunday, June 17 (Father’s Day), with the International team events on Thursday and Friday, June 21 and 22.

The host club will be announced as soon as details are completed. For further information, please contact Nan Ryan, LPGC Executive Director, at nanryan@littlepeoplesgolf.com or 970-586-4242.


The T-Zoom company from Thailand again donated white caps for all players in the 2006 Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships. Each contestant received a T-Zoom hat at registration.

Thanks again to T-Zoom for their generous donation and support of junior golfers.


Ben Curtis, former Little People’s player and champion, proved that his 2003 victory in the British Open was not a fluke when he won the rain-delayed Booze Allen Classic on June 27.

His 20-under-par 264 missed tying the tournament record by one shot.
Curtis played in Little People’s as a youngster, winning his 8-9 division in 1985 and finishing third in that division in 1986. He was third in the 10-11 division in 1988.

Congratulations, BEN!!! Keep up the good work.


Contestants in the recent Pepsi Little People’s swept top honors in the Country Youth Classic in Bloomington the week after Little People’s.
The winners included Alexander van der Merwe (1-B), Russell Matos (2-B), LK Go (2-G), Allenby Ramos (3-B), Bing Singsumalee (3-G), Haydn Porteous (4-B), Yueer Feng (4-G), Shane Convery (5-B), Brett Tomfohrde (6-B), Kaela Klune (6-G), Josh Ridgeway (7-B) and Kaitlin Wampler (7-G). Caitlin Osborn finished second in 5-G.



David Flynn, a regular competitor in the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships, made his first appearance in the U.S. Junior Amateur in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, recently.     The 13-year-old from Elk Grove Village, IL, youngest competitor at this year’s Junior and believed to be the youngest ever to reach match play in the Junior, showed his stuff with a qualifying round 2-over-par 74.    David received recognition both as a golf and as as a ‘jammin’ bass guitar player.  He and his band, The Pattern, have been playing ‘gigs’ around the Chicago area.  You can check them out at www.myspace.com/thepatternrock.     David has been playing golf since age 7 when his father, Ross, introduced him to the game.  Ross made the news at Rancho Santa Fe also, when he enthusiastically cheered a shot by the boy who had just beaten David.  After witnessing an amazing shot by Arnond Vongvanij — a 230-yard 5-wood to within 5 feet on the 18th green — he rushed to congratulate Vongvanij with “Brilliant, Arnond!” — vigorously pumping Vongvanij’s hand.     Good sportsmanship by both player and parent!!  Congratulations, David and Ross!


Katrina Delen-Briones, one of the Pepsi Little People’s/The First Tee of Great River Scholarship winners in 2006, was honored July 8 as one of two recipients of the inaugural President’s Youth Leadership Award by the USGA and AJGA.

The award was created to recognize one male and one female junior golfer who demonstrated leadership, character and community service through involvement with the USGA-AJGA Youth Leadership Club, a joint initiative founded in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism.

Both Katrina, and the other recipient, Adam Michel of Orinda, CA, were honored by USGA President Walter Driver Jr. during the Rolex Dinner of Champions at Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen, CO.

Katrina, 16, came to the US from the Philippines in 2003 and has compiled hours of community service at The First Tee of San Francisco. She participated in The First Tee Open last year at Pebble Beach and tied for third with partner Jay Haas.

Delen-Briones has made The First Tee of San Francisco her home away from home, compiling more than 400 hours of community service. She can be found doing activities from administrative work to mentoring younger players learning the game for the first time. She has represented the chapter at the National Life Skills Academy and won the award presented to the student who best personifies the Nine Core Values of The First Tee both on and off the golf course.

“Helping kids reach their goals is a small but great way to help our community,” she says.

As one of two 2006 recipients of the PLP/TFTGR Scholarships, Delen-Briones participated in the 2006 Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships in Quincy, IL, and finished 5th in a field of 42 in the 16-17 girls division.

Michel, 17, earned his stripes as a volunteer with The First Tee of Contra Costa at Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord, CA. His most impressive contribution is his latest endeavor — a recently published “how-to” pamphlet that describes the many ways junior golfers can get involved in community service and fund raising.

Additional information on both Delen-Briones and Michel can be found at www.usga.org — click on News, 2006, May.


Bryce and PayneBryce Burke, 9, young golfer from South Africa, has had many experiences playing in the United States. At one event he saw a picture of Payne Stewart and asked his parents the story about Payne. He was very touched, and his family purchased the picture for Bryce.

This year Bryce went to Pinehurst for the US Kids World Championships, and he saw the statue of Stewart. He stood motionless, tears running down his cheeks, realizing that this was the golfer he had come to know so much about.

Bryce went out to play Pinehurst No. 2. On the 18th hole, Bryce hit a great drive some 210 yards and was about 135 yards from the green, with a huge bunker to carry on the right. He hit a great 5-wood over the bunker. The ball landed on the green in a slight hollow to the left some 15 feet from the hole.

In his father’s words, “Unbeknownst to us, there were some folk sitting on the veranda watching the players come up the 18th hole. I ran to Bryce to hug him for two great shots, when we heard clapping and shouting. We looked around and saw some 12 people on their feet applauding either the gesture or Bryce’s shot. A marshal walked over and said, ‘Young man, you have played a remarkable second shot into the green. Not only that, young man, but from about the same spot Payne played his second and your ball has come to rest in the same spot as Payne in the 1999 US Open. This has been a privilege to watch’.”

What a great experience for young Bryce!


Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, won the European Amateur Championship August 26 at Biella Golf Club, Turin, Italy.

The 3-stroke victory earned the 17-year-old a spot in the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie. Rory scored 65-69-72-68 for an 18-under 274 to defeat N.C. tate senior Stephen Lewton.

Rory competed in Pepsi Little People’s several years as a 12-13 year old, finishing third in his age division in 2002. Other former Little People’s alumni who have competed in the British Open were Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton — and both won that event, in 2003 and 2004.



Bryce with Sportsmanship trophyBryce Burke, 9, is the first recipient of the Nan Ryan Sportsmanship Trophy awarded for outstanding sportsmanship by the Littlekidsgolf organization of South Africa.

Bryce, from Johannesburg, South Africa, received a poisonous spider bite after the first round of the 2006 Country Youth Classic, which resulted in serious swelling of his hand. Despite treatment, the swelling did not decrease, but he insisted on teeing off. After the first hole he realized that he could no longer hold the club and had to withdraw. However, despite the pain, he continued as a marker for his fellow competitor until the end of the round — only then allowing his Mom to take him to the hospital.

Nan Ryan, Executive Director of the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships, in which Bryce has competed twice, inquired about his withdrawal after seeing it on the internet, and wrote to his parents,

“The character that Bryce displayed at Bloomington is indeed more worthwhile than any score in a golf tournament! How proud you must be of him!!! Congratulations on raising a child who can show that type of sportsmanship in a situation which must have been heartbreaking for him!”

Because of her words, the Littlekidsgolf organization named their sportsmanship trophy in Nan’s honor.

“We hope over the years to come that we have many more moments of sportsmanship to share with parents and players alike, to reinforce that there is indeed more to this wonderful game of golf than just winning,” writes Bryce’s father, Allan.


douglass kKristopher Douglass’s goal is to be just like his idol, Tiger Woods — and he’s well on his way to accomplishing it!
This summer the 11-year-old Douglass, known as “the kid in the hat”, won 10 tournaments, recorded his first hole-in-one, and took home 11 trophies, including the Atlanta Junior Golf Association Player of the Year award.

Kris, who started playing in Pepsi Little People’s several years ago while still living in Germany, began wearing his khaki Tilly hat to protect his face from the sun after a bicycle accident left a scar. Now the scar is gone, but the hat is quickly becoming his signature.

The young golfers, also known as “Mini-Tiger”, draws several parallels between himself and Woods.

“His dad worked with him just like my dad. My mom is Asian, like his mom. Dad is in the Army, just like his dad,” says Kris, “But Tiger’s, I think, a little taller than me,” he adds.

Douglass, now a 6th grader at Lakeside Middle School, started golf at age 4 when he asked what golf was. His dad took him to the course and noticed a lot of talent. Now he spend most of his time at his home course at Jones Creek GC in Evans, GA, across the street from his home. He’s love to play Augusta National and has gotten to go to the Masters once. “The ground, the grass and everything — you could just sleep on it. It’s kind of like a carpet,” he says.

His favorite course is Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami, FL, the site of his first tournament. First time there he rallied from a 15-stroke deficit to win.

What does he love about the game of golf?

“Every hole is different. You don’t know what’s going to happen. It just happens.”

Congratulations, Kristopher!!! Keep up the good work!



corey moranCorey Moran of Barbourville, KY, who participated in the 2006 Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships as a Pepsi Little People’s/The First Tee of Great River Scholar, was selected along with six girls and five other boys for the Royal Bank of Scotland(RBS)/Golf Digest Achievers of the Year award. These youngsters were chosen two from each of the six regions of The First Tee from across the United States.

Corey and his family flew to Chicago for the ceremony in which he was awarded a $1000 future education scholarship, and attended the first round of The PGA Championship at Medinah.
Moran, 15, has been working hard to rebuild his high school golf team which lost three of its four members to graduation.

Corey’s young and inexperienced team has had difficulties competing with other area teams this year, but Corey set a goal and carried the determination to succeed at this event, finishing with a 79 and placing 5th out of 112 golfers.

“I believe that his participating in Pepsi Little People’s this year has had a major positive impact on how he has matured both on and off the golf course,” writes his father, Mark. “For that I am very grateful. Thank you so much for giving him that experience in his life”.

Congratulations, Corey, on a fine performance, and best of luck leading your team next year!


Carly Ray Goldstein, 11, a regular competitor in Pepsi Little People’s, will appear on The Golf Channel with her Dad, golf instructor Barry Goldstein, on October 30 from 7:29-11:29 pm EST.   Goldstein, twice selected as one of America’s top 100 teachers, will be instructing on the nationally televised program ‘Your Game Night’.  The show is filmed at The Golf Channel’s Orlando studios and reaches 90 million homes worldwide.


Thidapa Suwannapura has qualified to play in the $1,300,000 Honda LPGA Thailand October 20-22, 2006, at the par-72, 6392-yard Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand. At 13 years 10 months, Thidapa is the youngest amateur in Asia to qualify for this first-time event, which is billed in Thailand as “the most not able golf event in the history of Thailand”. Thidapa was played in Pepsi Little People’s three years, finishing second in her 10-11 age group in 2004, first in her 12-13 group in 2005 and second in that division in 2006. Her father, Seksan, annually brings a large group of fine young players from Thailand to Little People’s, and he will be caddying for Thidapa in the Honda LPGA event.

Congratulations, Thidapa!!!


Lucy speaking GranolaLucy Clark, 9, of Quincy, IL, won her second Plantations Junior Golf Tour event at The Players Cub in Eureka, MO, in early October.     Playing over the tough 4200-yard par-72 layout, Lucy and Stephanie Liu of St. Albans, MO, went head to head in the 8-11 age group.  Cold weather added drama to the event, with Lucy making a come from behind effort to take the cup by two strokes and gain more tour points. Here’s Lucy making her speech after receiving her trophy.         


Caitlin Osborn had a busy summer of golf, taking 2nd in the Country Youth Classic in Bloomington, IL, playing 12 events in the Tour Division of the Gateway Junior PGA and winning 11 first-place medals. She was awarded a trophy for High Point winner at age 13 in the 14-15 girls division, and played in the Drysdale Memorial Match Play Tournament in Springfield, breaking her record 38 of last year with a 37 to win the medalist torphy.  She won her next three matches for the Championship Flight victory. Caitlin is now on the Edwardsville (IL) Girls Varsity Team, which placed third in the State Finals.  She was the only freshman out of 6 to make the Varsity squad. In the state finals, she was #2 player with an 83.  The team took third by 1 stroke — a nail-biter finish!! Caitlin is looking forward to returning to play in Pepsi Little People’s in 2007.


jay trustyJay Trusty capped a great family trip to Orlando, FL, with a second place finish in the Mutual of Omaha Drive, Chip & Putt National Championships in the 7-8 division. The Golf Channel will show the event on Thanksgiving Day at 11:30 am central time. Although 9 now, Jay qualified for the National event when he was 8, as did several others. Jay, from Danville, AR, has been a steady contender in Pepsi Little People’s, winning first in the 3-5 age division in 2003 and first in the 6-7 age division in 2005. Here’s Jay with his trophy. 

Congratulations, Jay!!


Charlie RiggsYoung Charlie Riggs looks very much like he prefers camping to golf — although sporting a Little People’s ‘Future Golfer’ tee shirt!     Charlie is the son ofMichael and Karen Riggs of Windsor, CO.  Michael is a Sport Psychology Consultant who attended Pepsi Little People’s several years ago to speak at our Picnic and talk with parents and players.  He’s the author of “Soups On”, Great Golf Practice Recipes, available atMichael@performanceconsultingltd.com.

We look forward to seeing Charlie on the links soon!


DA  Don 406Don Sykes, a Little People’s Advisory Team member and a member of theLPGC publicity committee, had a chance to visit with D.A. Points during a practice round at the recent Houston Shell Open. D.A. was tied for 2ndat 5 under, following an opening round 67, and finished the tournament in a tie for 70th. Sykes, a regular at the Houston Open, watched D.A. play the 15th hole and tee off on #16. D.A. played in Pepsi Little People’s for many years, racking up a great record that included four wins, three second-place finishes and two thirds.  His wins came in 1984 in the 6-7 division, in 1991 in the 14-15 division, and in 1993 and 1994 in the 16-17 division. Here’s Don with D.A. during a practice round.

Keep up the good work, D.A.!!


U.S. Junior Tours is offering an educational and athletic experience for golfers ages 10-18 and their families. “Our mission is to provide worldwide experiences including professional instruction, competition, cultural touring, all in an atmosphere that fosters learning and character development,” writes M. Scott Ott, Executive Director.     “U.S. Junior Tours Golf Experience is like no other program as USJT team members, both young men and young women, compete directly against Scottish juniors in friendly matches, competitive matches or tournament settings. “Following each competition time is allotted for social interaction with our competitors and their families.  Activities usually include a meal, awards presentations, and time for conversation,” he adds. The 2007 schedule includes:  Birthplace of Golf and British Open Program, July 17-26; St. Andrews Links Junior Ladies’ Open and Women’s British Open Program, August 2-11, and St. Andrews Links Junior Boys’ Open and Women’s British Open Program, August 2-11.


Carly Trophy PrestigeBig Pic1Overcoming an eight-stroke deficit, Carly Ray Goldstein shot an even-par 72 in the final round of the Prestige Junior Championships to win the 10-12 girls division by one shot at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, over the Thanksgiving weekend. Carly Ray, a Pepsi Little People’s participant, had three birdies and three bogies in her final round 36-36 for a 36-hole total of 152, 8 over par.     Tied for third in the event was Shannon Aubert from South Africa, another Pepsi Little People’s contender, who shot 80-77–157. This was 11-year-old Carly Ray’s 35th victory in her young career.

Congratulations to Carly Ray and Shannon!


RussellMatosNov06_smallRussell Matos of Lombard, IL, finished second in the recent Prestige Junior Championships at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.  Matos, a regularcontender in Pepsi Little People’s, sho a 41 the first round and was in a three-way tie for the lead.  His second round 39 put him in a three-way tie at 80behind the leader. Russell shot a brilliant one-under-par 35 the final round, finishing 3 under on the last five holes with birdies on all three par 4s, to put him in atie for the championship with Jeffrey Cunningham of Palm Beach, FL. In the sudden-death playoff, played in pouring rain and wind, Russell nailed a ‘must-make’ 18-foot downhill putt for a 6, while Jeffrey two-putted for a 5 and the victory. Russell will play in the Doral Publix Junior Championships the end of December, where he will defend his title, playing as an 8-year-old in the 8-9division.  Russell also won two medals for his low rounds on the first and third days.    

Congratulations, Russell — and best of luck in the Doral!


Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, who made seven stellar appearances in the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships, has been selected as the 2006 recipient of the William and Mousie Powell Award.  The Award was created by Mousie Powell, an honorary member of the LPGA and recognizes the player whose behavior and deeds best exemplifies the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA.  The recipient is selected annually by a vote of the LPGA Tour members.
Vicki was recently elected LPGA Tour Player Executive Committee President. Goetze-Ackerman entered her first competitive event, the 1978 Pepsi Little People’s, at the age of five, and finished first by a whopping 113 strokes over her nearest competitor for the 8 holes played. In the next six years, she racked up four more victories and two second places finishes in her Little People’s Divisions. Since joining the LPGA Tour in 1994 she has recorded 20 top-10 finishes, and in 2005 was elected to the LPGA Tour Player Executive Committee. She served as Vice President in 2006 and will serve a President in 2007.  She continued to play a full season in 2006, just months after the birth of her first son, Jake. The award is intended to recognize the qualities and values of sportsmanship, which are not reserved only for winners.


World Golf HofF Oct 06 034Nan Ryan, Pepsi Little People’s Executive Director, was privileged to attend the recent induction ceremonies at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL. Nan was there because her good friend of some 55 years, Marilynn Smith, was one of the five inductees in the 2006 Class, entering the Hall under the Lifetime Achievement category. Marilynn has been a part of Pepsi LIttle People’s since its inception, attending the first event in 1974 to give a clinic, talk and play with contestants.  She returned in 1976, bringing her niece, Marilyn, to play, and again in 2001, when she talked with parents and players, and was featured speaker at the Monday night Picnic. Miss Smith, known as “Miss Personality” on the LPGA Tour, was one of 13 co-founders of the Ladies PGA, helped found the Teaching Division of that organization, won 21 tournaments during her playing career, including two majors, and served as President of the LPGA. “It was an awesome experience to be among so many of golf’s greatest,” stated Ryan.  World Golf HofF Oct 06 118“I had the pleasure of seeing many old friends that I hadn’t seen for 35-40 years.” The inductees included in addition to Marilynn, Larry Nelson and Vijay Singh, and the late Henry Picard and Mark McCormack.  Featured speakers as the festivities included Carolyn Bivens, LPGA Commissioner, Tim Finchem, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Beth Daniel, Kathy Whitworth, Sandra Post, Renee Powell and Judy Rankin.  Actor George Lopez was Master of Ceremonies. Also in attendance were three other LPGA co-founders, Betty Jameson, Shirley Spork and Louise Suggs, and Betty Hicks, who in 1944 founded the WPGA, forerunner of the LPGA, former LPGA Tour player Peggy Kirk Bell, and Judy Bell, former President of the United States Golf Association. “It’s a never to be forgotten experience,” stated Ryan. “I was overwhelmed.”



Luke GuthrieA recent article by Sean Martin, Assistant Editor of GolfWeek magazine,  onwww.juniorgolfextra.com , featured Quincy’s Luke Guthrie — ranking him as one of the country’s best junior golfers.

“Guthrie, from Quincy, IL,” said the article, “has always been short on national experience but not potential.  His older brother, Zach, who plays for Western Illinois, first realized it when he saw Luke shoot 65-64 as a 12-year-old to win a local tournament.”

Guthrie entered the GolfWeek/Titleist Junior Rankings late this summer at #47.  He finished second in the 16-17 division of the 2006 Pepsi LIttle People’s, after two firsts in the 14-15 age division in 2004 and 2005.

According to Martin, “Guthrie’s schedule was the 728th-hardest in the nation, according to Golfweek rankings, the lowest among the top 330.  He has a 507-26-4 head-to-head record, or .950 winning percentage.  Luke also won the 2006 Illinois State High School Championship and the Quincy City amateur.

Luke won the PGA Junior Series player of the year award in 2005, though in the 13-15 age division.  He won three PGA Junior Series tournaments in that division, represented the United States at the 2004 Junior Ryder Cup, going 1-0-1, including a win over a European team featuring Rory McIlroy, another Little People’s player, who won this year’s European Amateur.

“One thing I’ve gotten from him is he just wants to win and that’s it,” older brother Zach, a former Little People’s player, said.  “I’m more happy-go-lucky.  He’s not there to mess around.  When you watch him…, you can see how serious he takes it.”

Here’s Luke receiving his second-place trophy and prize in the 2006 Pepsi Little People’s, from Spring Lake CC pro Les Holcombe.


Caitlin Osborn of Collinsville, IL, received her first varsity letter as a 13-year-old freshment and was recognized for her consistent playthroughout the year.  She was voted All-Conference 1st team and All-Metro East 1st team, along with other Pepsi LittlePeople’s players Jessica Colllins, Marissa Cook and Taylor Brengard.

In 2007 Caitlin movesinto the #3 spot on her team and will continue to challenge Marissa and Taylor as they shoo for another trip to the State Championships.

Here’s Caitlin holding the 2006 team’s third-place trophy from the ISHA.  Congratulations!!


In the recent Doral Publix Jr. Golf Classic, which hosted 628 players from 38 states and 42 foreign countries, several Pepsi Little People’s players finished with top honors.    

In boys 7 and under, Guillermo Casares tied for first with two others at 75, while in the girls 7 and under, Diane Velez and Abigail Arevalo tied for first with 74.   

In boys 8-9, Bernardo Curbelo won top honors with a 69, and in the girls 8-9, Claire Hodges placed 2nd with 74.    

Carly Ray Goldstein finished first in girls 10-11 with a 75, and in boys 12-13, Trey Valentine placed 3rd and Chung Man Choe was 4th.  

In girls 12-13, Mariah Stackhouse and Aurora Kan tied for 4th. In girls 16-18, 11-year-old Alexis Thompson, playing up three divisions, finished 1st with 72-74-73–219.   

Congratulations to you all!